Things have been going really good both at school, work and at home – considering our whole household is trading colds. I just got a 6 week extension on my contract at Khan Academy, despite my struggle to keep up, my grades at school are good, and I’ve been getting better at making time for my wife and son in the evening.
Despite the feel goods I have this morning, it’s still been a challenge to keep up with everything. I’m raking my brain constantly and by the time night time comes, I’m so exhausted and ready for bed, but I also can’t sleep because I’ve been in my head all day and I can’t seem to turn it off!
This is why I’m a day late on this journal entry. I’ve just been so concerned with balancing the work/school/life scale while fighting my exhaustion that I just didn’t have it in me yesterday to post on top of everything else I did. But, here I am back at it, day late, or not. My goal in January was to post a minimum of once a week for one year on this blog, and so far I’m pretty darn close.
A few mishaps here and there where I got so caught up in the daily grind that I neglected the blog a bit, but overall I’ve published over 60 posts this year. My current goal is to stay on my streak of 1 post a week at least until the new year.
Anyways on the subject of learning, school and life in general I guess I’ve been reflecting on the importance of caring deeply about your goals in order to succeed. Life is challenging, and no matter what your long term goals are, life is constantly going to find obstacles and barricades to throw between you and your goals. They will come in many forms, whether it be the desire to sleep in an extra half hour, or a minor injury that limits your abilities. It can be more drastic and complicated, like relationship problems, the passing of loved ones, sickness or complicated webs of issues demanding your time and energy. Parties, dates, gatherings, friends in need, money, your job, house work, kids, on and on life demands from us through many different forms.
It’s easy to get distracted from your goals in the everyday bustle of life, and to simply go with the flow of things, reacting to each situation as your attention is required. To simply wait for that time when things are a little easier to continue on achieving your own personal goals. To just set them aside for a little while, and come back later. But then later never comes. Life keeps getting more complicated, more demanding, and goals become distant dreams, the “could haves”, the “if onlys”.
This is why it’s so important to spend time thinking about why you set your goals in the first place. At some point, those goals matter a lot to you, which is why you set them in the first place. You have to constantly remind yourself why you do what you do. Why do you sleep less than everyone else? Why do you spend less leisure time than everyone else? To stay motivated you have to remind yourself why you’re pushing so hard against the grain rather than cutting along it.
I reflected on this point for part of my learning journal assignment at school. At the time I wrote the following, I was a lot more tired and feeling broken down. I think I touched on a lot of important details, and it shows my process of answering these questions I’ve mentioned. So here is an excerpt from what I wrote.
Keeping up with everything this week has been challenging. Everyone in the household has been trading colds for about 3 weeks now, and it’s wearing us all down. That and our babysitter was off this week due to a family emergency so my son has been home while I’m trying to get work and school done. I’ve actually been at the park more than my desk trying to wear him out so I can get things done, but it hasn’t been working… The boy just doesn’t quit! Instead my work has been taking place during a few hours in the morning, and a few at night, but I’m so tired during these hours, I’m not sure how the quality of my work truly is.
My wife has been working hard at trying to keep him busy for me (for which I’m very grateful) but there is only so much she can do, and the noise is so distracting that I end up just taking him out since I can’t get work done anyways.
I just finished going over my lab 8 assignment to make sure all is good for before the final hour, and double checking my task list for the week to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. The only thing left is to write in my journal. Honestly though, I can’t seem to come up with much to say in regards to each question. Instead of my usual routine I guess I’ll just share some perspective on learning – especially when it’s hard to do so.
I’m a true believer that anyone can learn/achieve anything if they are willing to put in the time, effort, consistency, and heart into it. It’s hard to say which is most important but I would say if you don’t have your heart in something, then you’re likely going to quit. Sometimes I want to just cave and go apply for the next factory job and go back to being an operator or a labourer. Quit school and settle for working 40-60 hours a week with consistent pay cheques and just hope for that job security I’ve been longing for.
How easy it would be to just stop. To just let go. Start making easy decisions for the benefit of the short term, rather than tough ones for the benefit of the long. But I won’t. I refuse to go back to working my bag off over peanuts and never knowing for sure if my current job will pan out – eventually getting laid off and being forced into another stressful job search.
I’m choosing to study computer science so I can have a real future open with possibilities. I want to have the freedom to choose my work one day, instead of having it choose me. If I want to work a 40 hour week instead of 70, I want to be able to do that, for no reason other than I want to.
If I want to sit back on an Adirondack chair in northern Ontario, overlooking the lake on a Tuesday afternoon with my wife while my boy hunts for gardener snakes in the bush, I want the freedom to do so without having to book it 6 months in advance. I want to earn money doing something I would do for free if my needs were met for me. Something I already enjoy on my own time. And above all, I want to be doing something that could one day better other peoples lives.
Computer science opens the entire world to me, and I can’t say how yet, but I know I’ll use it to do something that’s really good one day. Something that actually matters. Machining output carriages for GM’s 6L transmission just doesn’t seem that fulfilling – no offense to guys who do that.
So my thought for the day is that no matter how hard something seems to be, just remind yourself why you’re doing it. As long as that reason is good enough, you’ll find a way to keep those eyelids pried open, and your chin propped up. No matter how many weights seem to be pushing you down, you’ll still get up every morning. You just have to believe in yourself, and believe in your goals. Whatever other beliefs you may have, spiritual or otherwise will only be strengthened when you know what you’re here for.
I hope this gives you guys some encouragement to overcome any challenges you may be having. I know my life hasn’t been as tough as others, and in many ways I’ve been very fortunate and privileged just by luck of the draw and being born in Canada. And to some, maybe my experiences seem more challenging than their own. However the words, struggle and challenge, are relative to our own lives. Whatever challenges your grinding through right now are hard for you regardless of other peoples opinions, and I hope you find a way to push through it all and achieve what ever your goals may be.
PS: For those who don’t code, the image featured in this article means to keep trying until you succeed – never give up!